Recently the Australian Council of Trade Unions sought to introduce 10 days domestic violence leave for all employees who are employed under the terms of a modern award.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) rejected this request yet noted the importance of supporting people who are experiencing domestic and family violence. In considering the matter the FWC concluded that all workers covered by the modern awards would be able to access five days of unpaid domestic violence leave each year. It is important to note, however, that this leave is not cumulative.
In addition to this it was acknowledged that those experiencing domestic violence should be able to utilise their paid personal/carer’s leave for this purpose if needed.
These changes came into effect on the 1st of August 2018. Awards have been amended to include domestic and family violence leave and will also provide that personal/carer’s leave can be taken in instances of domestic or family violence.
It is likely that there will be little practical impact once the new entitlement has come into effect, however, employers may wish to review their existing policies and procedures to incorporate this new entitlement into the already existing leave entitlements. Be aware that this entitlement, along with compassionate leave, is available to permanent and casual employees. It is with this new entitlement that employers should be aware that employees will be protected against any form of adverse action they experience as a result of exercising their workplace right to take unpaid domestic and family violence leave.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the impact for your business, please do not hesitate to contact the ARA Employment Relations Team on 1300 368 041.
For assistance with regards to domestic violence, call 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or visit www.1800respect.org.au, the federally funded national assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.